Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

London City Airport shut after WW2 bomb found in Thames

London City Airport shut after WW2 bomb found in Thames

Police said the German bomb was discovered Sunday at the George V Dock during pre-planned work at City Airport.

The Royal Navy is taking precautionary steps to ensure that the bomb is "as safe as possible" before they attempt to remove it from the River Thames and tow it away.

Police officers and bomb specialists from the Royal Navy have closed off the surrounding area and evacuated local residents while they deal with the device.

The airport, London City, is in the Docklands, an industrial area that was crucial to Britain's war effort, and many banks and other financial institutions today have their offices in the nearby Canary Wharf neighborhood.

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Passengers have been advised not to travel to the airport until further notice and check with the airlines for specific flight information.

"I recognize this is causing inconvenience for our passengers, and in particular some of our local residents", airport CEO Robert Sinclair said in a statement.

The 1.5m tapered-end shell was moved to a secure location by Royal Navy divers overnight and is now due to be destroyed in a controlled explosion.

All inbound and outbound flights have been cancelled, affecting 261 flights and an estimated 16,000 passengers, a spokesperson told the BBC.

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London City airport is the 14th busiest in the United Kingdom with 4.5 million passengers a year ago, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The issue is also not unique to London - as NPR's James Doubek reported, last August 70,000 people evacuated in Frankfurt, Germany, to allow authorities to defuse a British World War II-era bomb. According to the Royal Docks Management Authority, German Luftwaffe dropped around 25,000 tonnes of bombs on east London's Royal Docks during the campaign.

London City Airport is the 14th busiest in the United Kingdom with 4,540,000 passengers in 2017, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority.

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